A little over a month ago I challenged myself:
I currently have an average of 73 words per minute on Typeracer.com. Can I get to an average above 90 in 1 months time using a Dvorak keyboard? Source
It’s now been over a month, closing in on one and a half actually, and I’m happy to report… that I’m not there just yet. However, it’s got to a point where at least the thought of having to type something doesn’t make my fingers crumble. I don’t think too much about it anymore, to be honest.
The last month or so I’ve traveled some, which definitely didn’t help my speed typing recovery. If there’s one tip I have for people considering making the switch, it’s this: stay by your desk. Wether it be at home or in an office, make sure to stick with it and don’t give yourself any breaks. You simply haven’t earned them just yet!
So here we are. I’ve now been using DVORAK for 42 consecutive days, and I can’t type on a QWERTY keyboard anymore. I thought I would be able to alternate but this has not worked out at all. Now I just skip the umlauts when I write in Swedish, which makes me feel like a world trotter writing home in the 90’s.
This post took roughly 15 minutes to write. (Yay!)
My highest Typeracer score today (out of 3 races) was 44 WPM. Just a little over a month ago this was 12 WPM.
The days fly by… I wish I could say the same about my typing. I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into when I first started this crusade towards typing glory.
The main improvement in my typing so far is that the most common words I type that are on the home row (such as “the”, “that”, “these”) I now type with perfect accuracy, and fast. Also, some common words that have all the letters on the home row except one (like “some”, “have”, “month”) I’m getting much faster at. I can tell that I’m improving but it’s going way slower than I’d like it to.
I found a spreadsheet that details average words typed per minute during the conversion period, and how it changes over time. According to this, it’ll take about 6 months before I’ll reach an average typing rate again. Not very uplifting considering I was shooting for 1-2 months going in.
This post took 30 min to write. My highest score on Typeracer today was 12 WPM.
One day in, this whole Dvorak thing is becoming a bit absurd. It’s crippling me more than I ever thought it would. I’m now approaching every block of text I have to write trying to determine how I can bring what I need to say across in as few words as possible, which is not a bad thing in itself but at the core my communication skills are at an all time low. Chatting is virtually impossible.
I keep finding things that I didn’t anticipate would be cumbersome going in. Let me list a few.
- Writing HTML (such as this list), CSS, really any programming language is freaking annoying.
- Keyboard shortcuts. Open a new tab? Copying, cutting, pasting stuff? Saving? We do them so fast it’s really hard to re-learn where the letters you’re so used to pressing are now located. The upside is that now I know (all too well, I might add) that CMD+Y opens the browser history in Chrome!
- Passwords. I have a few personal passwords and the master password for 1Password that I actually need to manually type. These are high secure passwords with upper/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Typing them a few times every hour gets on your nerves fast.
You start to appreciate and use search suggestions and auto-complete. In fact I never realized how powerful these features were up until now.
There are glimpses of a brighter future to come though. I now giggle when I get to type words like “the”, “that”, “as”, and “lol”. And my favorite character from now on will always be “A” because true friends stick around.
According to Typeracer, today I’m typing at 12 WPM.
This post took me roughly 45 minutes to type with some editing.
I work for a company called Automattic, which is very much pro-alternate keyboard use. Dvorak in particular is commonly accepted as the way to go. Perhaps the biggest Dvorak evangelist I’ve ever met is Matt, who incidentally is also the founder of Automattic.
After reading the Dvorak zine and hearing only good things about making the switch (relieves your muscles, speeds up typing, is more ergonomic) I’ve decided to switch. I tried once before, but this time I’m going to go full out and compare results.
Something I struggled with last time around was having to constantly try and remember where the keys are, and looking at an on-screen keyboard to know what I was typing proved to be painful. So this time I’ve actually relocated all the keys on my external keyboard. Looking at the keys was how I learned qwerty back in the days, and since I now never look at the keys I figure it should work and not be too big of a detour.
I currently have an average of 73 words per minute on Typeracer.com. Can I get to an average above 90 in 1 months time using a Dvorak keyboard?